Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Industry | By Johnnie Johnson

North Korea: No intention to meet U.S. officials

In Japan, Pence watched Japanese troops demonstrate the simulated deployment of Japan's surface-to-air missile defense system, which would attempt to intercept a North Korean missile.

"The United States is with you in this challenge", Pence says Wednesday as the pair begins an afternoon of talks.

But it noted conservative South Koreans and USA officials were concerned North Korea's large presence at the Olympics could caused cracks in the global alliance opposing North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

The United States added Kim to its North Korea sanctions list in January 2017, citing the long list of egregious human rights abuses attributable to Pyongyang.

South Korea says the decisions were inevitable for the success of the games, which it sees as an opportunity to revive meaningful communication with the North after an extended period of animosity and diplomatic stalemate. Abe said, "We confirmed we would further reinforce our cooperation regarding North Korea's [actions of] skirting the sanctions".

Pence pledged that his message in any potential interaction would include the same point he has been making publicly: that the North must renounce its nuclear weapon and missile programs. US officials declined to provide details of the expected sanctions. The new measures are expected to be rolled out before the conclusion of the Olympic games.

The Winter Olympics haven't even started, and it looks like North Korea may already be winning, as the rogue regime appears to have driven a wedge between the US and South Korea. The parade appeared to be smaller than past years, according to the BBC.

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The ceremony was held on Thursday morning in the city of Gangneung for North Korean athletes taking part in the Winter Games opening on Friday.

"We have no intention to meet the USA side during our visit to South Korea", Jo said in a terse statement reported by state-run news agency KCNA.

Even the U.S. delegation attending the Games is meant to reinforce the message of American resolve.

As Vice President Pence began his two-stop Asia trip on Wednesday, he highlighted America's ties with longtime US allies in the region, Japan and South Korea.

"Personally, Pence would feel uncomfortable just being in the same place with the North Koreans".

Jo's comments came after US Vice President Mike Pence left the door open for negotiations earlier this week when he said, "I haven't requested any meeting". "As he also said, we will see what happens".

USA officials declined to offer details on the expected new sanctions beyond Pence's comments, citing concerns that any additional information could be used by those trying to skirt the new measures.

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"There are no plans to do so", she told reports.

Iran summoned South Korea's ambassador to Tehran to the Foreign Ministry, to explain the phone snub.

Pence said in Tokyo that the three allies still stand shoulder to shoulder. Moreover, it will take careful alliance management in Seoul and Washington to prevent North Korea's "charm offensive" from amplifying bilateral policy differences and driving a wedge between the allies.

North Korea's Olympic delegations (graphic).

Kim Yo-jong, the North Korean leader's younger sister, is an important part of the secretive regime, much like Ivanka Trump is an important part of the United States "presidential team" - and Yo-jong functions as both advisor and propagandist.

On Friday, before he attends the Olympic opening ceremony, Pence will visit a memorial for 46 South Korean sailors killed in the 2010 sinking of a warship that Seoul blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack.

Despite the misgivings of some South Koreans, tickets for the orchestra's concerts have been in high demand, with 156,000 people applying for 530 pairs of available seats. But it would not be the first time Trump administration officials have sat face-to-face with North Korean diplomats.

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